So there is plenty of talk about Google being the best search engine out there, but with some pretty amazing improvements recently made to Live Search, and now particularly the launch of Bing, our new “decision” engine, it’s really time to see if Google really is the best – for you personally. One fun way of doing this is to use this fun little utility that Michael Kordahi wrote (a teammate of mine) called Blind Search.

Basically, you head over to http://blindsearch.fejus.com, enter your search term, and click the search button. The tool goes off and searches for your terms at Google, Bing and Yahoo. You get the three sets of results back – all formatted anonymously so you don’t know which column of results was returned by which search engine. Then you can either “vote” for the search engine that gives you the best, most appropriate results for you personally, or you can simply click on one of the results themselves and head off on your way like you would if you were using the actual search engine.

One really cool thing is that if you’ve been using Google and want to try out Bing, but aren’t quite ready to make the switch (personally I now use Bing as my favoured search provider but hey, you never know), you can actually use Blind Search as your default search provider. Here’s how:

  1. Head over to http://www.ieaddons.com/en/createsearch.aspx to create your own search provider.
  2. In the URL box, enter http://blindsearch.fejus.com/?q=TEST.
  3. In the Name box, enter whatever you want to call it – Blind Search, Taste Test, Trying out my options… you name it.
  4. Click Install Search Provider.
  5. When prompted, click Add and you’re done (if you want to make it your default, check the “Make this my default search provider” box before you click Add.

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Works incredibly well and really opened my eyes to just how good Bing is; for me personally, the ratio seems to be about two-thirds Bing with most of the remainder Google with the very rare Yahoo. There seem to be some comments about the usefulness of the statistical info – people “gaming” the system, people finding it too easy to determine which column is which when looking at the source, etc. However that’s missing the point of the exercise – it’s more to break the preconception that Google is best. For what I search for, it seems like Bing is indeed best. Maybe that will be the same for others too.

(unfortunately a couple of people decided to try to game the system, so Michael had to take the public statistics down, but hopefully over time, they’ll become relevant and publishable. And full disclaimer, one tried to game it in Google’s favour and another tried to sway it in Bing’s favour)